Wittal: Warm weather outlook cools yesterday’s rally

Sept. 16 — Financial and energy markets continue to show steady gains as the U.S. dollar fell just over a third of a cent again today.

Near-term forecasts for warmer weather through the major U.S. grain regions for the next seven days have frost threats pushed to the back burner, which took the wind out of the sails of the mini-rally we had in grains yesterday.

The Canadian dollar closed up 0.61 cents at US93.91 cents.

The Dow Jones September quote finished up 124 points at 9,786.

Crude oil is up $1.58 per barrel at US$72.51.

Corn closed down nine to 10.5 cents a bushel today, while beans closed down eight to 11 cents a bushel on the day.

Wheat futures closed mixed, up two-10ths of a cent to down six cents a bushel on the various U.S. exchanges. Minneapolis December wheat closed up 0.2 cents a bushel today.

Canola closed down 40 cents to $4.30 per tonne today.

October Western barley climbed $1 per tonne, closing at $120. November futures are down 20 cents a tonne at $149.80.

Flax plummets

A recent shipment of Canadian flax to Europe was reported to have traces of GM markers in it. This did not go over very well in Europe where GM crops are banned at this time. It has been illegal since 2001 for producers to grow GM flax in Canada so it is believed that someone either delivered very old flax or used old seed the past few years.

This has caused flax prices in Canada to plummet sharply or to be taken off of the pricing board by companies altogether as there is no other real market out there for flax.

How long it may take for this issue to be settled is hard to say — and in the meantime, who will supply this market? The U.S. has the potential, and if that does happen, maybe we can move Canadian flax into the U.S. where there aren’t the same GM restrictions in place. 

Europe bought over 420,000 tonnes of Canadian flax last year, which is just over 80 per cent of the total tonnes that Canada exports on a yearly basis. 

A situation like this could set Canadian flax back hard as it could take a month, or it could take a year or more, before we may possibly regain access to that European market.

The Canadian Wheat Board will be issuing pricing damage statements to farmers with outstanding 2008-09 crop year PPO contracts (FPC, BPC, FlexPro, EPO). Farmers have until Oct. 2 to contact the CWB to appeal the assessment. Double-check to make sure you have met all of your CWB contract obligations and if not, call the CWB before Oct. 2 to explain the situation and see what they can do for you. Otherwise the damage charges will stand.

That’s all for today. — Brian 

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

Brian welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.

About the author



Brian Wittal

Brian Wittal has 30 years of grain industry experience and currently offers market planning and marketing advice to farmers through his company Pro Com Marketing Ltd.


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